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Von Neumann probes: rationale, propulsion, interstellar transfer timing

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 February 2022

Gregory L. Matloff*
Affiliation:
Physics Department, New York City College of Technology, CUNY, Brooklyn, NY, USA
*
Author for correspondence: Gregory L. Matloff, E-mail: GMatloff@citytech.cuny.edu

Abstract

A Von Neumann probe is a self-reproducing intelligent device with interstellar capabilities. A space-faring civilization could conceivably use such constructs to occupy much or all of the Milky Way galaxy and perhaps the entire universe. This paper presents several reasons that a civilization might decide to produce and deploy Von Neumann probes. Physically possible interstellar propulsion methods for such devices are discussed, as is a launch strategy minimizing the duration of an interstellar transfer. Various solar system locations could be investigated to determine whether Von Neumann probes are present in our vicinity.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press

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